More so than ever consumers are making informed decisions about what products they buy and which brands they support. With a world of information at their fingertips it’s a lot easier to shop around and find brands that align with their values. Being open about your practices and company culture is a great way to engage consumers and build brand loyalty. Plus, in the age of social media, it’s a lot easier for people to find out when brands are stretching the truth.
What is Transparency?
Transparency is about brands being as open and honest as possible when it comes to marketing. It means communicating who you are a brand with your audience and taking accountability when things go wrong. Consumers don’t like to feel as though they’re being lied to or tricked into trusting a brand or making a purchase but unfortunately many marketers employ techniques that could be considered “less than honest” within their campaigns. This could be something as simple as exaggerating numbers and statistics or making a claim such as “50% DISCOUNT ON ALL ITEMS” which is negated or revealed to be conditional in the small print e.g. “…with £100 annual subscription service”. Transparency also covers business practice such as partnerships and the origin of products. McDonald’s has continually suffered negative press about the quality of its food and recently used that as an opportunity to display their corporate values with their 100% British & Irish Beef advert.
Why is Transparency Important?
Over 94% of consumers say that transparency is important in their purchasing decisions. This means that if they believe a brand to be concealing something or dishonest then they may take their custom elsewhere. In addition, younger generations such as millennials are more likely to completely ignore adverts based on the belief that advertisements are “all spin and not authentic“. No matter what the product, consumers now have multiple brands to choose from and it’s common to do a little digging online before making a purchase. This, coupled with the fact that consumers are more politically, socially, and environmentally conscious than ever, means that your brand could land on consumers’ blacklists regardless of the quality of your products.
Transparency is especially important when it comes to influencer marketing with many people are calling out celebrities on social media for blatant advertisements disguised as personal endorsement. The Advertising Standards Authority has its own set of guidelines for affiliate marketing such as this but there are still instances of influencers trying to skirt around this. This is often viewed as inauthentic and condescending by an audience. In fact, lifestyle celebrity Kim Kardashian recently promoted a line of fitness teas for the company Fit Tea on Instagram and other social media platforms without stating that this was a paid promotion. Following an enquiry by the National Advertising Division, Fit Tea had to modify or delete numerous posts from Kim Kardashian in order to make it clear they were compensated endorsements.
How Can Brands Be More Transparent?
- Transparency starts with communication and communication is a two way street. Social media is a fantastic tool for reaching out to an audience but it also makes it very obvious when brand is ignoring complaints or avoiding answering questions. Be honest with your customers and take accountability when things go wrong. Having an experienced team of social media professionals who can think on their feet is imperative when it comes to running social channels for a business or brand. It’s a lot easier to ignore difficult questions or address issues brought up by individuals on social media but it will earn your brand a lot more trust and respect to acknowledge an issue and explain how you are going to prevent it in the future.
- Honesty is the best policy and this is especially true when it comes to your brand’s business practices. Make information about the origin of your products, and anything else you routinely find consumers questioning, available online This does incur a level of risk as consumers who aren’t happy with where you source something or who you work with will make it known (oftentimes on social media). In instances such as this you can try to justify your choices although it is often better to acknowledge concerns, use them to re-evaluate practices, and let your customers know you’re working towards a solution.
- Data collation plays a massive role in marketing these days and it’s not unusual for brands to collect as much info as possible about their target audience/s. Because of this people are becoming more conscious about how their data is being used and whether or not it is being sold to third parties. General Data Protection Regulations now require brands to disclose exactly how they are using data and if they intend to send it to third parties. Best practice is to communicate this in plain English before the consumer has provided their data as consumers are more likely to feel like you’re trying to deceive them if this information appears in small print or at the very end of the data collation process just before the customer hits submit.
Did you know that 43% of Britons distrust big brands or corporations, associating them with greed and deceit? Working towards total transparency shows consumers that your brand cares and that it won’t employ dishonest tactics simply for the sake of a sale. Brands that are open and upfront about everything from the way they treat their blue collar employees and what they pay them, all the way up to the companies they partner with, are essentially saying “we have nothing to hide”. In this day and age that is worth a lot more than flashy advertisements or quirky marketing campaigns.
Show your brand in the best possible light with a trustworthy approach to social media and marketing using Jelly’s expert in-house team. Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or on +44 (0) 1235 885581.